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Sweetheart Chocolate Cake

Serves 12
Sweetheart Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

For the cake:
9 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup room-temperature butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
3 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the frosting:
1 cup room-temperature butter
1 cup vegetable shortening
2 pounds powdered sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 3 9-inch cake pans (use a heart-shaped pan if available). Line the bottom of the pans with parchment. To a double boiler over simmering water, add the chocolate. Melt the chocolate, stirring until it is completely smooth. Remove from heat; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar. Beat with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg yolks and coffee and beat for 2 more minutes. Add the chocolate, milk and vanilla and beat until well combined. With a spoon, stir in the dry ingredients, until just combined. In a small bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer on high until soft peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter. Pour 1/3 of the batter into each prepared cake pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edge of the pan. Cool for 15 more minutes and invert cake onto a wire rack; cool completely. 

For the frosting, add the butter and shortening to a large mixer bowl. Beat with an electric mixer (paddle attachment) for 1 minute. Add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Add the cream, vanilla and salt and beat until fluffy about 5 minutes. If icing seems dry, add additional heavy cream. Fit a piping bag with a large, round decorating tip (such as Wilton 1M) and fill it very full with white icing. Color the remaining frosting as desired and divide between 2 to 3 other piping bags with decorating tips. 

To assemble the cake, place the bottom layer on a cake board or cake stand. Around the top, outside edge of the first layer of cake, use the piping bags to pipe dollops of frosting of various colors. Fill the center with the white icing. Gently place the second layer on, taking care not to flatten the frosting on the layer below. Repeat the same piping process as on the first layer. Place the third cake on top, with the bottom of the cake facing upwards. Pipe dollops of frosting on top, this time covering the entire layer in different colors. Start with the bigger decorating tips and fill in holes with the smaller ones.